24 May 2016

Minister seeks money to free up Auckland land for housing

1:13 pm on 24 May 2016

The Building and Housing Minister is seeking more money from Thursday's Budget to free up Crown land for house-building in Auckland.

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Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The government announced a $52 million plan to free up Crown land in last year's Budget, but that had now all been spent, and Nick Smith said there was still work to do.

Dr Smith announced this week that negotiations to buy three sites on which to build 740 houses had been completed, and the $52 million had all been spent.

He denied promising last year that "thousands" of houses would be built, and said he has always talked about "potential" numbers.

"No, you [the media] invent promises.

"What I said very specifically at the time was that the government was providing $52 million contingency, for us to be able to purchase public land for housing. We've effectively spent all of that money, that's going to provide nearly a thousand homes.

"I'm seeking additional funding in Thursday's Budget."

'Solid, predictable' Budget printed

Meanwhile, the 2016 Budget has been printed ready for its reveal on Thursday.

Finance Minister Bill English's traditional inspection of printed copies of the Budget.

Finance Minister Bill English at the printers in Petone as part of his traditional inspection of the Budget. Photo: RNZ / Elliot Childs

Finance Minister Bill English has visited the printers in Petone, Lower Hutt as part of his traditional inspection of printed copies of the Budget.

Mr English said it would be a "solid, predictable" budget.

"It consolidates surpluses, shows that looking ahead over the next three to five years, if we stay on track, New Zealand has got some opportunities for choice, which a lot of other countries don't have - choices about how to use surpluses," he said.

Prime Minister John Key has said there would be some housing related initiatives in this year's Budget.

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